GC hopes intact after Tour of Oman stage one

Tue 17 Feb 2015

The general classification hopes of ORICA-GreenEDGE remain intact after Jayco Herald Sun Tour champion Cameron Meyer and teammate Pieter Weening finished within the bunch on the first stage of the Tour of Oman.

The flat 161km stage from Bayt Al Naman Castle to Al Wutayyah also poised as a good opportunity for new sprinter Adam Blythe but the 25-year-old was held up in the busy finish.  Lead out man Mitch Docker was the first across the line for ORICA-GreenEDGE in 16th position behind stage winner Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team).

“It was a typical bunch sprint after an easy day,” sport director Laurenzo Lapage said. “It was a bit hectic with alot of fresh guys ‎and the boys knew they had to be in position with two kilometres to go but Adam get boxed in and couldn't do the sprint in the best way.”

“Cameron Meyer and Pieter Weening also finished with the same bunch time and that was one of important points today. They couldn't lose time.”

Without much resistance, four riders - Jeff Van Meiraeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18), Johann Van Zyl (MTN Qhubeka) and Simone Andreetta (Bardiani – CSF Pro Team) – formed the day’s main move from the flag and established a maximum advantage of five minutes after 40km of racing.

Full of confidence in Alexander Kristoff, who finished with three stage wins at the recent Tour of Qatar, Team Katusha took the reins at the front of the peloton.

By the 65km mark the gap was down to three minutes and, despite a solo effort by Van Zyl, with 30km left to ride the race was back together and set for the bunch kick that eventuated.

Tomorrow’s second stage features two small KOM climbs in the final 25km and a descent into the finish town of Al Bustan.

“It's a typical Sagan finish,” Lapage explained. “We have our daily meeting tonight but tomorrow could be a good finish for Jens Keukeleire and it’s also important again that Weening and Meyer will be in a good position so they don't lose time because of splits in the bunch.”